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PARIS - Anyone who has followed the preparation races for this year's Tour de France has a good idea of who will win the race, which starts tomorrow.
Spain's Alberto Contador has looked so much in control, and so powerful even when losing, that it seems only accident or illness could prevent him from winning his third title.
Contador, 27, will have another advantage this year: he will ride with a team - the Kazakh group Astana - that will be entirely devoted to a support role.
In last year's Tour, Astana included seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong and was managed by Armstrong's long-time mentor Johan Bruyneel.
As a result, Contador won the race pretty much on his own. Contador said on Wednesday: "The environment (in the team) will be better. I will be better."
His primary competition appears to come from Luxembourg's Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank.
The only other rider who could conceivably give Contador a run for his money is seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. - Sapa-DPA